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Morsi out thrown The Justice minister leading the transition

 

Egypt’s military deposed the country’s first democratically elected president Wednesday night, installing the head of the country’s highest court as an interim leader, the country’s top general announced.

Gen. Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi said the military was fulfilling its “historic responsibility” to protect the country by ousting Mohamed Morsy, the Western-educated Islamist leader elected a year ago. Morsy failed to meet demands to share power with opponents who thronged the streets of Cairo, and those crowds erupted as the announcement was made.

Ahead of the statement, troops moved into key positions around the capital and surrounded a demonstration by Morsy’s supporters in a Cairo suburb. Citing an unnamed presidential source, the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported that “the General Command of the Armed Forces told President Morsy around 7 p.m. (1 p.m. ET) that he is no longer a president for the republic.”

At the final hour, Morsy offered to form an interim coalition government “that would manage the upcoming parliamentary electoral process, and the formation of an independent committee for constitutional amendments to submit to the upcoming parliament,” he said in a posting on his Facebook page. He noted that hundreds of thousands of supporters and protesters had packed plazas around the country, and he urged that his countrymen be allowed to express their opinions through the ballot box.

Egyptian demonstrations from aboveEgyptian demonstrations from above

Video shows clashes at Cairo University

Morsy defies military’s ultimatum

Photos, videos capture Egypt in crisis

“One of the mistakes I cannot accept — as the president of all Egyptians — is to side with one party over another, or to present the scene from one side only. To be fair, we need to listen to the voice of people in all squares,” the statement read.

But as night fell Wednesday, troops surrounded a pro-Morsy demonstration at a Cairo mosque and took control of a key bridge across the Nile River. Gehad El-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, reported via Twitter that tanks were on the streets.

Morsy was said to be working from a complex belonging to the country’s Republican Guard, across the street from the presidential palace, according to Egyptian state media. Reuters reported that troops were setting up barricades around that facility.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. government — Egypt’s leading ally — could not confirm reports of a coup. Psaki said the United States is not taking sides and urged all parties to come to a peaceful resolution to the “tense and fast-moving” situation.

Coup allegation

An aide, Essam El Haddad, said in a Facebook posting that a coup was under way and warned that the generals risked bloodshed by moving against Morsy.

“Today, only one thing matters. In this day and age, no military coup can succeed in the face of sizable popular force without considerable bloodshed,” wrote El Haddad, who works in the office of the assistant to the president on foreign relations. “Who among you is ready to shoulder that blame?”

“In a democracy, there are simple consequences for the situation we see in Egypt: The president loses the next election or his party gets penalized in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Anything else is mob rule,” he added.

But Naguib Abadeer, a member of the opposition Free Egyptians Party, said what was under way “is not by any means a military coup. This is a revolution.”

“The people have decided that Mr. Morsy was no longer the legitimate leader of Egypt,” he told CNN.

Abadeer said Morsy lost his legitimacy in November, when he declared courts could not review his decrees and ousted the country’s prosecutor-general. He said Morsy’s supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood — the Islamist movement that propelled Morsy to the presidency — “hijacked the vote of the people” by running on a religious platform, “so these were not democratic elections.”

On Tuesday night, Morsy had vowed that he would not comply with the military’s 48-hour ultimatum and demanded that the armed forces stand down.

“If the price of upholding this legitimacy is my own blood, I am, therefore, ready to sacrifice my blood for this country and its stability,” he said.

But political analyst Hisham Kassem said the speech was Morsy’s “final bluff.”

“He was trying to give the impression ‘We are there in numbers, and we are going to retaliate, we are not going to allow this to happen.’ However, with almost 24 hours since his message, it’s clear his supporters will not dare challenge the crowds on the street,” Kassem said.

All eyes on Egyptian military’s deadline

Egyptian ministers resign amid unrest

He added, “I think President Morsy effectively is no longer running the country.” And faced with the throngs that filled Cairo’s Tahrir Square, “the military had to intervene. Otherwise this crowd was going to get Morsy from his palace.”

Egypt’s anti-Morsy protestors — in their own words

Reports of a TV studio takeover

Reuters and several other news organizations reported that Egyptian troops had “secured the central Cairo studios of state television” as the deadline approached and that staff not working on live shows had departed.

CNN has not confirmed the reports; state television denied in an on-air banner that there was any additional military presence at its studios.

Massive demonstrations for and against the former Muslim Brotherhood leader who was elected to office a year ago have been largely peaceful.

But 23 people died, health officials said, and hundreds more were injured in clashes overnight at Cairo University, the state-funded Al-Ahram news agency reported.

Protest leaders have called for nonviolence.

Opinion: Give Morsy a chance to fix this

Egypt’s military met Wednesday with religious, national, political and youth leaders to address the crisis, Egyptian military spokesman Ahmed Ali said through his Facebook page.

Egypt protesters’ message to Morsy: Go

Hours earlier, an opposition spokesman accused the United States of propping up Morsy out of concern for neighboring Israel.

“The hour of victory is coming,” said Mahmoud Badr of the Tamarod opposition group. He predicted that the “illegitimate president” would be gone by the end of the day.

“Not America, not Morsy, not anyone can impose their will on the Egyptian people,” Badr said.

Opinion: Egyptians are fed up with Morsy

Switching sides

With the ultimatum, the armed forces appeared to have thrown their weight behind those opposed to Morsy’s Islamic government.

Early Wednesday, soldiers and police set up a perimeter around the opposition’s central meeting point, Cairo’s Tahrir Square, “to secure it from any possible attack,” the state-run EgyNews agency reported.

It was the police who, on the same spot in 2011, killed hundreds when they fired upon democratic, moderate and Islamic demonstrators seeking to overthrow Hosni Mubarak, the country’s longtime autocratic leader and U.S. ally.

Mubarak had repressed the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic political movement that emerged as the nation’s most powerful political force once Mubarak was ousted.

At a pro-democracy protest in Cairo, demonstrators expressed anger and fear over what the coming hours could bring.

The Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, Gehad El-Haddad, told CNN that tanks and armored vehicles — accompanied by thugs carrying knives, pistols and ammunition — had been moved to the northern and southern entrances of the square in an apparent attempt to drive them out.

The military fired warning shots into the air, and shot one Muslim Brotherhood member in the leg, El-Haddad said, but the remaining protesters were standing in defiance in front of the tanks.

Some of the protesters oppose Morsy but also oppose pushing from power a democratically elected leader, he said. “Under no circumstances will we ever accept a military-backed coup,” he said.

But many of the democratic reformers and moderates who accused Morsy’s government of moving in an authoritarian direction now support former Mubarak allies and others fed up with the nation’s direction in calling for the restoration of order through the military.

They have been pushing to oust Morsy and his Muslim conservative government, whose leaders were drawn primarily from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood. They say they have collected more than 20 million signatures on a petition to remove him — millions more than the number who voted Morsy into the presidency.

In recent days, anti-Morsy demonstrators have ransacked Muslim Brotherhood offices all over the country.

Protesters: We’re not going; he must go

Morsy’s close adviser speaks to Amanpour

Interactive map: Explore the locations of protests in Cairo, Egypt. Photos: AFP/Getty Images

Governments issue warnings against travel to Egypt

The military’s plans

Military leaders have told Arab media that they were planning to suspend the constitution, dissolve the parliament and sideline Morsy.

In his place, they would install a mainly civilian interim council until a new constitution can be drafted and a new president elected.

The military’s ultimatum was intended to push all factions toward a national consensus, not to seize power through a coup, a spokesman, Col. Ahmed Ali, said Monday in a

 

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Nile Dam of Ethiopia Could Destroy Egypt’s Way of Life

    • MARK BYRNESEthiopia is currently building Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant. When it opens next year, the “Great Renaissance Dam” will tap into the Nile River. Unsurprisingly, Egypt, a country whose identity and way of life are tied to that body of water, feels threatened by its neighbor’s ambitions.

The new dam will help provide electricity to a country where more than 80 percent live without it. But in Egypt, most of its population is centered near the Nile valley and delta. The former chairman of the National Water Research Center tells Time that the dam will reduce water flow anywhere from 1,300 billion gallons to 6,600 billion gallons per year. It will also increase river pollution, harming fisheries and making it difficult for boats to navigate the river. As Egypt’s foreign minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said recently, “no Nile, no Egypt.”

Tensions between the two nations over the dam project have been palpable. Egypt president, Mohammed Morsi said in a speech on June 10, “we will defend each drop of the Nile with our blood.” During a televised cabinet meeting the week before, several members told the president that “he must destroy the dam through any means available.” Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn however said recently that “nothing and no one” will stop construction of the dam.

Politics aside, the Nile does play a defining role in everyday life for Egyptians, whether they be farmers or floating restaurant owners. Below, via Reuters photographer Asmaa Waguih, we get a glimpse of the wide ranging ways Egyptians use their treasured river:


A small cruise boat passes Nile City Towers, which is owned by Naguib Sawiris the owner of Orascom Telecom, overlooking the river Nile in Cairo June 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A boat passes buildings under construction and the two towers of the Bank of Egypt building (R), overlooking the river Nile in Cairo June 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A woman rows, while another holds a net as they fish in the river Nile in Cairo April 16, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Boats sail past the burned out headquarters of former President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, on the banks of the Nile in Cairo June 12, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Women wash clothes in the river Nile in Cairo May 20, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A boy jumps into the river Nile as people celebrate the spring holiday of Sham el-Nessim on the outskirts of Cairo May 6, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A boy washes his horse in the river Nile in Cairo May 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Men help a priest disembark from a river taxi on the river Nile April 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A fisherman rows his boat on the river Nile in Cairo April 13, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A farmer stands near his cow while it drinks from the river Nile in Cairo May 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Boys play on a ferry jetty on the shore of the river Nile in Cairo May 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


People sit on chairs set out by a cafe on the banks of the river Nile in Cairo April 21, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


People sit in a cafe overlooking the barrages of al-Qanatir on the river Nile in Cairo May 6, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


A woman looks out as she sits in a boat during a cruise on the river Nile in Cairo June 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)


Boats housing restaurants and nightclubs float on the river Nile in Cairo May 8, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)

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